Rouyn-Noranda Huskies teammates and 2013 NHL Draft prospects Jean-Sebastien Dea and Sven Andrighetto continued their battle for the lead in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League scoring race Wednesday, combining for three goals and two assists as the Huskies beat the visiting Sherbrooke Phoenix 6-3.
The duo, linemates since last season, are a major reason the Huskies lead the Telus West Division and have remained close to the streaking Halifax Mooseheads, who have won 13 in a row.
Dea, who had a goal and two assists Wednesday, has held the scoring lead most of the season. His 34 points put him one ahead of Andrighetto, who scored two goals Wednesday.
With 18 goals, Dea is tied with Halifax's Nathan MacKinnon for the league lead, while Andrighetto tops the QMJHL with 19 assists.
The 19-year-olds went unselected in the 2012 NHL Draft, but have earned high marks for their exploits this season -- especially Dea, who was promoted to a C-ranked skater in Central Scouting's preliminary rankings of players to watch for this year's draft. Dea also earned a spot on Team QMJHL for next week's Super Series games against Team Russia.
"We knew his ability, his capacity to score, his hockey sense," Huskies coach Andre Tourigny told NHL.com. "He grew two inches and 10 pounds over the summer [to 6 feet tall and 155 pounds]. I knew he was bigger. I'm not surprised [at his start]. I cannot say I was expecting him to score more than a goal a game, but I'm not surprised by the fact he's had a lot of success."
As much as their offensive exploits have helped the team this season, Tourigny has been impressed by the all-round play displayed by the line, which includes undrafted overage Gabriel Desjardins.
"[Dea] is a guy that will dive to block shots, he'll work harder then everybody in the backcheck, he'll compete in the battles down low in our own end," Tourigny told NHL.com. "When your top players, your top-six forwards, do it, it makes my job a lot easier and makes your team a lot better. We have a different team with that kind of commitment from our best players. Those guys are the hardest backcheckers on our team, they play hard in our own end. Now it's a reason why our team has success. When you see those guys blocking shots and backcheck and battle hard like that, you start to be a tough team to beat."
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